CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths Goes Full Thanos

Time to talk nerd stuff without all that “The AV Club is pretentious” thing hanging over it. I’m a full-bred nerd, and I’m here to walk alongside you in these topics. Expect a Rise of Skywalker non-spoiler review right here next week. For this week, I want to address the most recent major event to strike our TV screens, the CW’s rendition of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Obviously, if you haven’t been watching, then SPOILERS.

About a half dozen years ago, my friend got me to watch Arrow for the first time, lending me DVDs so I could watch the first two seasons. This included a guest appearance in a two-part episode by Barry Allen, who is shown to be struck by lightning upon his return home. I immediately latched onto Stephen Amell’s performance as Oliver Queen, and had no issue picking up the Flash right away, as Grant Gustin’s boyish cheerfulness grew on me quick. So I got invested in the Arrowverse early on, and grabbed on to Supergirl, then Legends and Batwoman. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that yours truly appears on Legends as a regular these days.

From the moment Flash jumped into Supergirl’s world when it was still on CBS, and they opted to indicate it was Earth-38, things have been building to the point we reached on Sunday: An adaptation of the transformative DC comic series, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Everybody and their brother has been referenced or cameoed in the first three episodes of the five part series; Robert Wuhl dropped in as Alexander Knox on Earth-89, referencing the Burton Batman, and he was holding a newspaper stating Batman captures the Joker, which means that he didn’t die at the end of the original film like it appeared, a great fan service retcon. Burt Ward turned up, so did Curran Walters of Titans, as their Earths got obliterated. From there, we have Brandon Routh’s Superman, Lucifer from the eponymous show(Earth-666, no less), Black Lightning, John Wesley Shipp’s Barry Allen from his show, The Spectre, Huntress from the short-lived Birds of Prey series, and Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, using that voice.

Our heroes are, as in the comic, gathered together by the Monitor to stop the Anti-Monitor from wiping out the multiverse. The Monitor then identifies that there are paragons among them who will be the ones who can save reality. Naturally, most of our main heroes from the Arrowverse are among them(Batwoman, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, Flash, White Canary, Routh’s Superman, and Ryan Choi, the second Atom). Also, Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor is there to screw things up, including an attempted murdering of Smallville’s Tom Welling, who flicks the kryptonite back at it him and punches him out.

From sheer scope, this is a crossover unlike any other. Every DC show and film universe short of the Snyder-verse, Fox’s Gotham, and Lois & Clark appeared and met its fate. It is an ambitious understaking that has been hinted at since episode 1 of the Flash. Some of this resultantly resembles what we just witnessed back in spring with Avengers Endgame, but doing it on the small screen and incorporating so much history is a much different animal.

For my money, it has gone very well so far. We have reached the cliffhanger that must sustain us for a month, as existence is erased but for six paragons and Luthor. Yep, the Arrowverse got its snap. And with Luthor slyly replacing the seventh paragon, what may have been intended is not possible any longer. Our team is stranded outside of time and space, in a place that only season 1 Legends viewers will recognize. Yep, that hard slog had a payoff!

Logic indicates that the heroes will find a way to restore the universe. In the comics, this placed everyone on a single Earth. That may not be expressly possible given what has been acknowledged as within this multiverse, but the most direct expectation is that Supergirl and probably Black Lightning will be on Earth-1, officially placing all the CW DC super shows in a single continuity, and paving the way for more guest appearances on the various shows going forward. It gets hard to contrive new reasons to get your single non-Earth-1 character, Supergirl, to cross dimensions every year, so that will more than likely be a thing of the past. Plus with a Superman series reportedly in the works, this makes that easier as well. And on top of that, we have yet to know what Oliver Queen’s ultimate fate will be. Arrow has three episodes left including its Crisis installment.

This has been a lot of fun for me, but I’m also deeply invested, so I can understand people who aren’t as keen on it, but I think everyone has to appreciate the cameos at least. And now we have a full month, January 14 is the due date, to cogitate and theorize on this before our intrepid seven try to bring the universe back and defeat the Anti-Monitor.

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  1. I’ve been enjoying it, too. They’ve streamlined the story enough that it works. I imagine a bunch of Earths will be back as I assume DC wants to make more Titans even though this last season was a bit of a dud. Plus they’ll need more Wellses for Tom Cavanagh to play on Flash.

  2. I think it’s kind of obvious that Oliver will be the next Spectre.

    • …sure seemed that way
      …care to lay odds on John Diggle getting a lantern/ring combo for christmas this year?

  3. I’m long past the ‘teen thing ol’ boy – John Constantine rhymes with fine in my lexicon…or grimoire, or whatever the terminology ought to be.

    I enjoy the arrowverse stuff but in some senses the crossovers always seem to me to work best when they lean in to the “pocket universe” nature of what makes the different shows unique & there’s part of me that feels like they bit off more than they can chew from a production standpoint even as I admire the fact that they do seem to be swinging for the fences all around.

    & I should be clear that I also like what they’ve been doing with the batwoman show so I don’t mean it in a ghostbusters-aren’t-girls way…but I’ll admit to maybe being a bit disappointed that the bat of the future wasn’t Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond…

    going forward though, I’d be concerned that trying too hard to integrate the various tones the different series have adopted into a more homogenized group would feel like a misstep to me – particularly in the case of Legends & Black Lightning…

    the latter of which never does seem to get the attention from the likes of the AVClub that it seems like it deserves…although maybe that’s just me being overly-opinionated…

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